Belgian tourist brutally attacked in Hua Hin, friend seeks justice

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A Belgian retiree was gravely injured in an unprovoked attack in Hua Hin over a week ago, according to officials and witnesses.

The victim, identified as 63-year-old Jan from Riemst, in the province of Limburg, remains in a coma following the assault, Belgian news site VRT NWS reported.

The incident has not been reported in Thai or English language news until now.

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The victim, identified as Jan, was attacked from behind while sitting on a sidewalk by a German national who is known to have been living in Hua Hin for some time and is associated with a local martial arts club.

The incident, captured on CCTV, shows the assailant approaching Jan unsuspectedly before violently assaulting him, resulting in severe head injuries.

According to medical professionals in Thailand, Jan underwent a 13-hour surgery to address multiple skull fractures and is currently in a coma with an uncertain prognosis. Doctors have placed numerous plates in his face, and while the surgery was successful, they estimate it could be three to eight months before he might regain consciousness. His condition is being carefully monitored, with treatments aimed at reducing brain swelling.

Jan’s close friend, Danny Lemmens, who also from Riemst and helped him plan his trip, has traveled to Thailand to assist with his care.

Speaking to VRT Lemmens explained how Jan had recently retired and was exploring the possibility of spending his retirement years in Hua Hin, which he found appealing for its affordability and lifestyle.

He added how he has taken on the responsibility of contacting Jan’s family and managing his medical and legal affairs, with the inability to directly contact Jan’s family adding to the challenges.

In response to the attack, Lemmens has filed a police report for attempted murder and is handling necessary hospital paperwork. He shared his harrowing experience of spending long hours at the hospital and the emotional toll of managing this crisis far from home. “It was a long day, waiting for 13 hours during his surgery, and the following days were sleepless ones as I stayed in his hotel room, surrounded by his belongings while he fought for his life in the hospital,” Lemmens said.

Jan wasn’t the only victim of the German attacker.

Lemmens told VRT that he spoke with an Englishman who had suffered a similar attack and was also prepared to press charges and possibly testify in court.

The German assailant, described by witnesses as confused and aggressive, reportedly continued to roam the area for hours after attacking Jan before eventually being apprehended by police.

The local police are investigating the case, and the Belgian embassy in Bangkok along with the Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs are monitoring the situation and providing consular support to Jan’s family.

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